Never forget: you are the government. You have power and opportunity to make change, and one of the most important tools you hold is your vote. As John Lewis poignantly stated:

“The right to vote is precious and almost sacred, and one of the most important blessings of our democracy. Today we must be vigilant in protecting that blessing.”

Every Election Day, you have the authority to decide on people and policies that best represent the needs of your community. Our elected officials are accountable to voters. So, the authority of the Alderman, Mayor, County Executive, State Representative, or U.S. Senator is vested in them by voters – by you.

But sometimes voting doesn’t seem so simple. There have always been barriers to voting, and some are intentional efforts to suppress the vote. For example, Voter ID laws make it hard for people to vote, while disproportionately affecting low-income, racial and ethnic minorities, the elderly, and people with disabilities. Now, with COVID-19, we are experiencing new barriers. While mailing in your ballot is an option this election, ballots require a notary, which will pose challenging for many in our community.

During these extraordinary times, it may feel confusing or unsafe to vote, but here’s what you need to know to make voting as safe as possible:

First, commit to voting on August 4th and make a plan. Ensure you are registered to vote and look up your polling place before heading out to vote.

Second, if you are planning to vote in-person, follow the six strategies in the image below to limit the spread of COVID-19 and make voting safer. We can’t control everything, but we can be prepared. 

C.T. Vivian and Representative John Lewis are rightfully remembered as courageous leaders who set an example of perseverance, valor, and vision. Yet it took the everyday courage, faith and tenacity of thousands, whose individual names we may never know, to knock down barriers, outlast oppressors, and take what rightfully belonged to them and to us: our vote.

So, if we want representation to rightly reflect our interests, we need to vote. We need to vote Yes on 2 so more people who need health care access can receive the care they need. We need to vote as if our lives depend upon it, because they very much do.

Top Photo: Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga.
Image: Mark Humphrey/AP

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